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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadow defense attorney’ tag

Defendants’ Rights in the Illinois Constitution

July 29th, 2015 at 6:12 am

Most people know that when you are charged with a criminal offense that you have certain rights under the United States Constitution. However, what many people do not realize is that each state also has its own constitution, and those constitutions provide additional protections for criminal defendants. To be sure, Illinois has protections for criminal defendants in its constitution as well.

Protections that Are Similar to Federal Protections

Some right enumerated in the Illinois Constitution are basically the same as or exactly the same as those listed in the United States Constitution. For example, the two documents provide some of the same protections when it comes to searches and seizures. However, the Illinois Constitution goes further and actually addresses specific issues like eavesdropping and invasions of privacy, which are not specifically discussed in the United States Constitution. The Illinois Constitution also provides a right to counsel, a right to confront witnesses, a right to compel witnesses to testify, and a right to a speedy public trial. All of these rights are similar to rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. There are also similar prohibitions on self-incrimination and double jeopardy.

Unique Illinois Protections

There are some rights that are unique to the Illinois Constitution. One of these rights is in Section 11 of Article 1, and has to do with limitation of penalties after conviction. It is commonly referred to as the “proportionate penalties clause.” Under this provision, all penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship. This clause is violated where two criminal offenses have the same elements but carry different authorized sentences.

Illinois also has a specific constitutional provision that deals with the setting of bail in criminal cases. It specifically says that all persons shall be entitled to bail unless they are charged with certain offenses where the proof is evident and the presumption great. These offenses include capital offenses, offenses that carry a possible punishment of life imprisonment, and felony offenses where a sentence of imprisonment without conditional release shall be imposed as a result of a conviction, if the court determines after a hearing that the offender poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of a person.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley. Call us today at (847)394-3200. Criminal defendants have rights both under the federal constitution and the state constitution, and you need to have an advocate on your side to make sure those rights are protected.

Hazing Is a Crime

July 27th, 2015 at 5:47 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Hazing used to be a regular part of high school and college life, but now it is often considered a criminal offense. As a result of hazing going too far at multiple institutions and students being seriously hurt or even killed, a once normal right of passage is now forbidden by schools and universities. Engaging in some types of hazing can lead to a student being in serious trouble, not just with his or her school, but with the law as well.

The Law against Hazing

Illinois statute forbids certain kinds of hazing. Legally speaking, a person commits hazing when he or she requires the commitment of any act by a student or other person in a school for the purpose of induction into any group connected with the institution if two specific requirements are met. First, the act must not be sanctioned or authorized by the educational institution. Second, the act must result in bodily harm to any person. As such, harmless traditional types of hazing may not result in legal action, although they may still be against school policy and result in suspension or even expulsion under some school rules. However, any type of hazing that could result in someone getting hurt, including alcohol-related hazing, could result in criminal charges. Usually hazing is a misdemeanor, but if it results in death or great bodily harm, the charge can be a felony.

Failure to Report Hazing

Failure to report hazing is also a crime in Illinois. Schools cannot protect their students from being prosecuted under the hazing law. A school official can actually be charged with the crime of “failure to report hazing” when he or she does the following:

  1. While fulfilling his or her official responsibilities as a school official he or she observes an act that is not sanctioned by the school;
  2. The act results in physical harm to a person; and
  3. The school official fails to report the act to supervising educational authorities or, in the case of death or great bodily harm, law enforcement.

Violation of this law is a misdemeanor.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or your child has been charged with a crime or is being investigated you will need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney like Christopher M. Cosley. Call us today at (847)394-3200. Neither you nor your child should ever speak to law enforcement without having an attorney present. It does not matter whether you or your child is guilty. If it is your child who is being investigated you may have questions for him or her, but demanding answers could result in your being forced to testify against your own child, so do not push him or her to answer your questions. Contact us instead.

Endangerment and Abandonment of Children

July 20th, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, crimes against children, Illinois criminal attorney,Parenting a child is hard. It is one of the hardest things there is to do, and while there are plenty of books on it there is no one agreed upon instruction manual that works for parenting every single child. Because of this the government has traditionally given parents significant leeway when it comes to making parenting choices. However, particularly in modern times, there are some sorts of parenting issues in which the government does involve itself. While the physical or sexual abuse of a child are some of the most drastic cases, issues like child endangerment and abandonment can also result in criminal charges.

What Is the Crime of Child Endangerment?

While the crime of child endangerment seems like it could include almost anything, it has a narrow definition defined by Illinois law. In order to be guilty of this crime a person must either (1) cause or allow the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered, or (2) cause or allow a child to be put in circumstances that endanger his or her life or health. A common cause of this sort of charge is leaving a child unattended in hot car. As a general rule a child under age six is considered “unattended” if he or she is left in the car for more than 10 minutes, although the jury can consider other issues. Depending on whether the offense is a first offense and whether the child dies as a result of the endangerment, this crime can be a felony or a misdemeanor. If the person who endangers the child is the child’s parent there is a special program under which the parent can be placed on probation and, if the parent cooperates and works with the Department of Family and Children’s Services, the charges may be dismissed.

What Is the Crime of Child Abandonment?

Abandonment is another crime related to the care of children. This crime happens where a parent, guardian, or other person who has physical custody of a child knowingly leaves a child under age 13 without supervision by a person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more. This must be done without regard for the health, safety, or welfare of the child. There are multiple factors that are considered in these cases including:

  • The child’s age;
  • The number of children left unattended;
  • Any special needs of the child;
  • How long the child is left;
  • The condition and location of the place the child is left;
  • What time of day the child is left;
  • The weather conditions;
  • Where the allegedly abandoning adult went when he or she left the child;
  • Whether the child’s movement was restricted;
  • Whether the child was given a number to call if there were an emergency;
  • Whether the child was left with food;
  • Whether the conduct was because of an economic hardship or illness;
  • The age and capabilities of the person providing supervision for the child;
  • Any other factor that could endanger the health or safety of the child; and
  • Whether the child was left under the supervision of another person.

If the defendant in these cases is the child’s parent, then the defendant may be eligible for the same sort of probation leading to dismissal that is allowed in some child endangerment cases.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a crime, there are many decisions you have to make. Will you post bail? Will you have a trial or seek out a plea agreement? If you are having a trial, what sort of defense will you use and what witnesses will you call? One of the most important decisions you make, however, will be who you select as your attorney. You will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

Air Rifles and Illinois Law

May 20th, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, air guns, paint guns, When it comes to gun crimes, Illinois has some of the strictest and harshest laws in the country. While these strict laws apply to firearms, there are special laws that apply to air guns in our state. There are strict rules as to who may possess them and where they may be used. Ignoring these regulations can result in being charged with a petty offense.

What is an Air Rifle?

For legal purposes, Illinois statute defines what an air rifle is. This definition includes any air gun, air pistol, spring gun, spring pistol, BB gun, paintball gun, pellet gun, or non-firearm that shoots paintballs or pellets with a force that reasonably is expected to cause bodily harm.

What State Laws Apply to Air Rifles?

A few different state laws apply to air rifles. Violation of any of these laws is considered a petty offense. First, a dealer cannot sell, rent or transfer air rifles to someone under the age of 13 if the dealer knows or has cause to believe the person is under the age of 13. It is also illegal to give an air rifle to a child under the age of 13 unless you are the child’s parent, guardian, or adult instructor. It is illegal for a person under age 13 to carry a loaded air rifle on the public streets or public lands of the state. It is also illegal for one of these children to discharge an air rifle on the public streets, sidewalks, or land. The one exception to this rule is if the child is using the air rifle at a safely constructed target range.

Rolling Meadows Air Rifle Ordinance

The state laws on air rifles specifically say that local municipalities can craft their own ordinances regarding the use and possession of air rifles and that those ordinances can be more strict. Rolling Meadows has such an ordinance. Rolling Meadows has a general weapons law that says it is unlawful for any person to shoot or discharge a BB gun, air gun or spring gun outside any completely enclosed premises. This ordinance does not apply to the premises of duly licensed shooting galleries, gun clubs or rifle clubs. This ordinance shows why it is particularly important for parents in a large metropolitan area to be familiar not only with state laws, but also with the laws of the individual municipalities in which they reside and spend substantial time.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are charged with a criminal offense you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Please call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley. We have built our practice on criminal defense and we are willing to fight for you. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

Right to Bear Arms: Illinois Rules Age Restriction on Gun Possession Does Not Violate the Second Amendment

January 16th, 2015 at 7:31 am

Illinois defense attorney, violent crime, Illinois criminal lawyer, gun lawsGun crimes are one of the most contentious types of crimes there are in our society. On one hand gun, violence kills far too many members of our society, particularly young people. On the other hand, our constitution give us the right to bear arms. Issues of gun control seem to come up on both the state and federal level each year. Now the Illinois court of appeals has issued an important decision that seems to prioritize the need for gun control over the constitutional right to possess a gun.

Illinois Court Rules Against 18-Year Old’s Right to Bear Arms

The Illinois Court of Appeals recently addressed whether an 18-year-old has a right to bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment. The case is called People v. Fields. The State charged Demonte Fields with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (AUUW). Ultimately the trial court convicted Fields after a bench trial and sentenced him to probation. Fields appealed, arguing that his conviction should be vacated because the statute prohibiting the possession of a handgun while under 21 years of age is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals did not agree, and it upheld his conviction.

Fields was charged with AUUW because he was alleged to have, while not on his own land or in his own abode or fixed place of business, knowingly carried a firearm while he was under 21 years of age. In a previous case, People v. Aguilar, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Illinois’ flat ban on carrying ready-to-use guns outside of the home was unconstitutional on its face because it violated the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Fields used this case to argue that the statute under which is was convicted is also unconstitutional. He claimed that as an 18-year-old at the time of the offense, he is a member of the community and guaranteed rights under the second amendment.

Court Compares 18-Year Olds to Felons and the Mentally Ill

The Court disagreed with Fields. In its opinion it explained that the courts have long said that the right to bear arms is subject to long-standing categorical prohibitions like prohibitions on the rights of felons and the mentally ill when it comes to possessing guns. It then wrote, “[D]efendant contends 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old adults are part of the virtuous citizenry and cannot be categorically disarmed like convicted felons, children, or the mentally ill. We disagree.” It went on to explain that the 21-year age limit is historically supported. It determined that people between ages 18 and 20 are less responsible and mature than other adults and that protecting the public and police officers by denying this group firearms protects a substantial or important government interest. It also decided that 18 to 20-year-olds can be discriminated against when it comes to Second Amendment rights because of the age group’s alleged high risk of being involved in gang activity. As a result, these non-felon, non-mentally ill adults can be convicted of a serious crime if they possess a gun in public in Illinois. It remains to be seen whether the Illinois Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court will address this ruling.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you love is accused of a crime, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact the dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation. Whether its a traffic matter or a serious felony, we can help.

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